England hold their heads high despite pain of World Cup loss

Sir Bobby Robson would have been proud of England getting to World Cup semi-final, says his widow

The French topped Belgium 1-0 in their semifinal matchup on Tuesday to advance to the final and have a shot at winning their second World Cup final (they took the title in 1998).

Football was all set to come home.

England were the favourites heading in to the semifinal, but it wasn't to be, and those watching at home were left distraught, some in tears.

England's 1-0 advantage did not reflect their superiority and Croatia, looking jaded in mind and body after knockout wins on penalties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation, were off the pace. They've done everything wrong and I wrote an article at some point in the past month, days don't matter anymore about teams that are successful at World Cups and teams that win World Cups and look to copy them and look at them as blueprints going forward.

"My biggest question before the tournament was about who was going to be the goalkeeper and whether they would be good enough". Had Southgate's players faced a Brazil, France, Uruguay or Portugal before this stage, they might not have made it so far because the lack of service to Harry Kane would really have told against such high-quality opposition.

"A couple of weeks ago, I would have taken this result", said one man in a red England shirt who declined to give his name.

"But when you get to this point and play as well as we did in the first half, you want to take those opportunities in life, so the dressing room is a very hard place at the moment".

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After the match, soccer fans in the United States and around the world reacted to England's loss with either heartbreak, or reveled in their failure.

Katich said the World Cup had brought an already-close Croatian community even closer together.

"England we're proud of you, that's all I've got to say".

Would Katich be able to sleep on Sunday night? "I don't think so".

England had history in their hands and a first World Cup final since 1966 in their sights as the clock ticked past 10pm in Moscow - only to let it all slip away and so leave this historic city with familiar feelings of despair and disappointment. There had been huge optimism during the day that while France in the final would be a tough proposition, there was little doubt that England would make it.

Another football fan flying to Croatia to watch the game is James Stephenson, from Winton.

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